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Netskope Sues Bitglass To Thwart Patent Infringement Claims

Bitglass has been emailing cloud security rival Netskope’s customers and accusing them of infringing upon two Bitglass Cloud Access Security Broker patents when they use Netskope’s products, Netskope alleges.

Netskope sued top rival Bitglass Friday to shoot down patent infringement allegations Bitglass has been making on its website and in emails to Netskope customers.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based cloud security vendor said Bitglass has allegedly been emailing Netskope’s customers and accusing them of infringing upon two Bitglass Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) patents when they use Netskope’s systems. In those emails, Bitglass has demanded that Netskope’s customers obtain a license when using Bitglass-patented technology in Netskope products, according to Netskope.

Netskope said its CASB systems use two widely adopted industry configurations for cloud-based security access control involving a SAML Proxy and an ACS Proxy. But Campbell, Calif.-based Bitglass has been claiming that Netskope’s mode of using SAML Proxy and ACS Proxy infringe upon at least two Bitglass patents, according to Netskope.

[Related: Bitglass Accuses Ex-Exec Of Taking Trade Secrets To Netskope]

“Given Bitglass’ … specific references to Netskope’s systems under its infringement allegations and threats to Netskope’s customers, Netskope has a reasonable apprehension that Bitglass will commence litigation against Netskope,” Netskope wrote in a 11-page U.S. District Court filing with California’s Northern District.

Bitglass’ allegations have created a real and immediate controversy between Netskope and Bitglass, prompting Netskope to seek a judicial declaration that it does not infringe upon either of Bitglass’ patents. Netskope declined to comment, while Bitglass didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from CRN.

The latest lawsuit comes six months after Bitglass sued Netskope and former executive Joseph Green for allegedly exploiting confidential information obtained through Green to gain an improper advantage in the marketplace. Both Netskope and Green moved to dismiss all claims asserted against them, but U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg denied the motion to dismiss trade secret misappropriation claims.

Seeborg ordered Bitglass and Netskope Jan. 28 to engage in private mediation for the next 120 days, and set a jury trial date of May 9, 2022, if the two sides fail to reach a settlement.

In its complaint filed Friday, Netskope said that Bitglass openly declares on its website that its patents are “fundamental” to certain modes of using a SAML Proxy and an ACS Proxy. Specifically, Bitglass contends that it has patented “Direct Access to Application” technology in SAML Proxy Mode as well as “Agentless Reverse Proxy Access to Application” technology in SAML Proxy Mode and ACS Proxy Mode.

The first paragraph of Bitglass’ infringement allegation on its website specifically identifies configurations of Ping, Okta, and OneLogin that integrate with Netskope’s system, Netskope alleges. By clicking on the “Ping” hyperlink, Netskope said a user is redirected to a webpage titled “Netskope Integration Kit” that describes how Ping integrates with Netskope’s systems.

Similarly, by clicking on the “Okta” hyperlink, Netskope said a user is redirected to a webpage titled “How to Configure SAML 2.0 for Netskope Reverse Proxy” that describes how Okta integrates with Netskope’s systems. And by clicking on the “Onelogin” hyperlink, a user is redirected to a webpage titled “Configure SAML for Netskope” that describes how OneLogin integrates with Netskope’s systems.

“The facts and allegations recited show there is a real, immediate, and justiciable controversy,” Netskope’s lawsuit alleges. “Bitglass’ public declarations and threats to Netskope’s customers show it is highly likely that it will assert infringement of the Patent-in-Suit against Netskope.”

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